Top left, James Thompson, Vineyard Manager;
3rd photo down on left, leading the tasting: Gerry Smith;
3rd photo down center, picking grapes: Maria Reyes;
5th row center, grape stomping: Wine club member & Juan Micieli-Martinez, Winemaker
Photography by John Neely
The North Fork of Long Island
The oldest son of William Entenmann Jr. and Martha Clara Entenmann, Robert Entenmann grew up in the legendary family bakery business his grandfather, William Entenmann, Sr. started in Brooklyn, New York in 1898. Entenmann’s opened with one storefront on Rogers Avenue in Brooklyn, later moving to Bay Shore, Long Island, where William Jr. grew the small family bakery business into a flourishing brand that would become known the world over for its stellar line of products, innovative business practices, family values and philanthropic community endeavors.
When the Entenmann family sold the business in 1978, Robert Entenmann followed his heart to the East End of Long Island where he purchased a potato farm and transformed it into a thoroughbred horse farm. Through the years, he enjoyed his horses and the natural beauty of the area. However, he couldn’t help but notice the landscape changing around him. The neighboring potato farms began to give way to vineyards; it was just a matter of time before he would follow suit.
In 1995, Robert planted 18 acres of vitis vinifera grapes. Over the next few years his vineyard grew to over 100 acres as he anxiously waited for the grapes to come of age.
Entenmann named the venture Martha Clara Vineyards in honor of his mother, Martha Clara Entenmann. Now approaching nearly 20 years since he planted his first grapes, Martha Clara Vineyards, The Entenmann Family Farm comprises over 200+ stunning acres which have yielded a wide variety of award-winning wines.
In 2007, Juan Micieli-Martinez joined Martha Clara Vineyards as a Winemaker. Juan’s experience and quality driven approach to wine-making, along with his innovative take on marketing has brought the Vineyard to a completely new level. During his tenure, Martha Clara Vineyards has received widespread recognition for many of its wines, including the coveted New York State Governor’s Cup; Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association’s Jefferson’s Trophy and Best Merlot in New York State, among others. And while Juan continues to serve as Winemaker, in recent years he has taken on the additional role of General Manager, overseeing a full-time staff that manages several different branches of the burgeoning business.
In addition to the award-winning wines it produces, Martha Clara Vineyards boasts a tasting room, retail shop, wine club and year-round calendar of community-oriented events.
Additionally, the Vineyard offers several diverse indoor and outdoor spaces through which to plan a private party or memorable wedding that may accommodate up to 200 guests, as well as an event staff to help you plan the details for your event.
The Vineyard is host to live musical performances year-round as well as a host of other special events, including: a Wine-Making Course, Bridal Showcase, Fall Oktoberfest, Holiday Happenings, and partner in countless community fundraisers.
Last summer, Martha Clara Vineyards successfully took the role of community philanthropy to a level unsurpassed on the East End, when it was host to the AFTEE (All for the East End) Nile Rodgers Dance Party, an unprecedented Concert event that attracted over 4,000 people to the Vineyard for a charitable fundraiser benefitting over 1,000 East End based non-profit organizations.
Reflecting back on 2013, Micieli-Martinez proudly proclaimed it to be a ‘Banner Year’ for Martha Clara Vineyards, topping out the year with an exceptional Harvest that he anticipates will yield more award-winning wines for the Vineyard.
Other notable achievements in this and previous years include:
- The Vineyard’s 2010 Merlot was voted ‘Best Merlot’ in New York State in the ‘Best of” Category Awards at the New York Wine & Food Classic this year.
- In 2011, The Vineyard’s 2010 New York State Riesling received The Governor’s Cup Award.
- The Vineyard’s 2010 Estate Reserve Riesling was awarded The Jefferson Trophy by the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association for the best wine in New York State.
- As a member of Long Island’s Sustainable Winegrowers, The Vineyard is recognized as a ‘Sustainable Vineyard’
As proud as he is of 2013 being a ‘Banner Year’, Micieli-Martinez is quick to add ‘but, the best is yet to come’ as he talks excitedly about what the future holds for Martha Clara Vineyards.
Following are just some of the exciting events Martha Clara Vineyards is opening the New Year with:
LIVE MUSICAL SERIES:
The Vineyards welcomes 2014 with two live musical series, The 2014 Winter Concert Series and a 2014 Winter Jazz Experience.
The 2014 Winter Concert Series features cover bands paying tribute to the great music of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s and includes such talented artists as: Just Groovin’, Seven Turns, The Nancy Atlas Project (February 8th) and White Wedding (February 21st).
The 2014 Winter Jazz Experience features top jazz performers in the area, including: Claes Brondal and The Soul Jazz Train Express, The Latin Jazz Odyssey (January 31st), A Valentine’s Day Concert with Hands in Motion (February, 14th), and The Groove Gumbo Collective (March 21st).
Additionally, Martha Clara Vineyards offers free live music every Saturday and Sunday in the Pavilion outside their Tasting Room. And the Vineyard is a partner in Live on the Vine – The Long Island Winterfest Series, a 6-week mid-winter festival that is a collaborative effort between East End Arts, The Long Island Wine Council and The Long Island Convention and Visitors Bureau (www.liwinterfest.com).
WINTER CELLAR EXPERIENCE
For those interested in learning more about the wine-making experience, Juan offers its’ Winter Cellar Experience. Participants are treated to a cellar tour at Premium Wine Group with The Winemaker. The tour is followed by a wine tasting back at Martha Clara Vineyards. The Winter Cellar Experience is offered on February 1st & 15th, March 8th & 22nd. Cost is $30 per person per day, or $20 for Wine Club Members.
On Saturday, April 5th from 1-5pm, Martha Clara Vineyards will be host to its Annual Wedding Expo in the Northville Barn on their property. This event has been touted as the Bridal Event of the season on the North Fork of Long Island. Vendors include many of the areas most talented and creative: caterers, photographers, florists, decorators, make-up/hair stylists, lighting specialists, entertainment and more! Young couples come away with information on everything they could possibly need to plan the wedding of their dreams. Tickets are $10 a person and include a glass of wine.
Martha Clara Vineyards is located at 6025 Sound Avenue in the historic Northville District of Riverhead, New York. They are open 7 days a week: Monday-Thursday: 11am-5pm; Friday and Sunday: 11am-6pm and on Saturday from 11am-7pm.
For more information, visit their website at: https://marthaclaravineyards.com/ or call: 631.298.0075.
Article and information by Lisa E. Freedman